Extracting Honey – Part 1

Today, I started the honey extraction process. There are a few tools and items you want to have on hand when you are doing this process:

  • 8×10 Tarp (Camping Grade)
  • 5 Gallon Bucket (food grade w/ cover)
  • A Capping Knife or Tool
  • A few pairs of Disposable Gloves
  • A Honey Strainer or Mesh Bag
  • A Spatula
  • Newspaper, Plastic containers and other things to mitigate the mess.

Here is a link to a video that explains the steps I took to do this first extraction. I only did a few frames so, I will post additional updates on the process to share the efficiencies that I have found.

Just in case you missed it! Check out the Extraction Video

Michelle

 

Winter Work

Part of the winter beekeeping work is rehabbing equipment for the next season. I wanted to share the details for those who may inherit or have to reuse their previous year’s equipment.

The purchasing of pre-owned equipment is often tricky because beekeepers are wary of stuff that they do not have knowledge of because it may have been infected by American Foulbrood or other diseases that may have caused the colony to collapse.

My thought in documenting this process was to better inform potential beekeepers of some of the steps of maintenance in the offseason. Thus, the preparing boxes for reuse is a key task because if you have bees that die of other causes you can still reuse the equipment if you take right precautions and these steps also help you to preserve your equipment investment.

These are boxes that I purchased earlier this fall from a fellow beekeeper that had some damage due to wax moth damage. In order to reuse these boxes, I had to scrape and clean them outside. Lucky, I did this work before the super cold snap (in Nov/Dec 2017), and I used some straightforward tools that I got from the $1 store (note: small and large paint scrapers). I also used the hose at high pressure to blast of the last cocoons. Once the boxes were dry, I brought them indoors and with the help of Katie S, we started the next phase.

It is recommended to burn the leftover wax and inside corners of the boxes, thus removing all of the yucky remnants. For safety, we had a fire extinguisher on hand and since I am walking accident, I left the blowtorch work to Katie. She also used a small tool to clean out the top crevices of the boxes as well.

Finally, painting the outside of the boxes with two coats of outdoor high gloss paint gave the boxes a new life. The boxes will be airing out for the winter so that there is plenty of time for any fumes to dissipate. The painted boxes will weather longer and hold up to the elements much better than untreated wood.

Note: That it is less expensive to buy unpainted equipment and do it yourself if you are purchasing a large number of boxes. There are often deals on bulk boxes and new bee equipment but, if you are buying a single hive, the price difference is slight. I suggest that you go ahead and pay the extra $5-7 for painted boxes, it is worth the money and time.

In future posts, I will share the artistic transformation of these boxes. I will also share the assembly process of the many new boxes that I purchased this summer.

Michelle

Making Candy for Winter

It seems timely to start on candy making for the bees since it is December and when I went out this morning the ground was frozen. I found a no-cook recipe on the internet that seems pretty easy. I decided against a true fondant because I am not a skilled candy maker.

Here’s what you will need:

  •  A 5-pound bag of sugar
  •  A measuring cup – 1 cup filled with water
  •  A large mixing bowl
  • A mixing spoon or spatula
  • A medium size aluminum pan
  • Optional –  Essential Oils ( I added a few drops of lemongrass, Thyne, and Peppermint oils )

Directions:

  1. Add entire bag into to large mixing bowl
  2. Measure and then pour 1 cup of water into bowl
  3. Stir and combine water and sugar (1-2 minutes)
  4. Optional: Add 10-15 drops (5 drops each into the mix) as you stir

I attempted to record some video of this process for your enjoyment. I am just adding this element to the blog and in the future, I refine these into more finished products.

 

If you have questions, contact me. I will post another blog piece on placing of these bars into the hive.

Michelle

 

New Logo and update…

Beemore

I am very lucky to have a creative husband with top-notch computer skills. Thanks Hedgepeth for making me look professional. Warren will have his own site soon so be on the lookout for a link to how Warren Hedgepeth can make your life better with technology!

Hopefully, you will see more of this logo. The goal of BeeMore is to keep bees thriving in the City.

On the hive front, I checked on the hives today and they were ok but, it was a colder morning than it has been this fall so, the bees were a bit shy and you have seen enough photos of the boxes. I will add some new hive shots and fall updates this week.

Some other topics that will be bringing readers are:

  • Treatments for Pests
  • Winter Preparations
  • Removing and/or mitigating Wax Moths
  • Cleaning Equipment
  • Honey Extraction and much more…

If you have questions or comments contact me. 🙂

Michelle

 

 

JHU Social Innovation Cohort

A28E3B70-62A8-4397-A2E5-443F4F111B97.jpegBeeMore has been lucky enough to be selected for the 2017-18 Johns Hopkins University Social Innovation Cohort. This year’s class has a myriad of socially conscious business endeavors in Baltimore and Internationally.

I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity and the ability learn and grow from this experience.

I will post more about this endeavor.

Michelle

 

 

Getting Honey…

Disclaimer: Before I even start this post, I do not have any honey yet… I will be letting the bees keep whatever they have made so far in the hives for winter. I just happened to help another beekeeper today at Park Heights and took some photos of the process. Her hives are a more mature than mine and this happens to be her first collection for the year. I thought it would be neat to show the end product.

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So, let’s start from the beginning, below are photos of the hives at the main site of the Park Heights Community Health Alliance. There are currently 8 functioning hives that support the community garden for active pollination.

Laverne is another Baltimore City beekeeper that has four hives at the site and she has collected one shallow box of honey for the CSA Group (Community Support Agriculture) at Park Heights.

Before we harvested the honey, we checked on the status of all of the hives and treated for hive beetles. If you notice in the photo above she has a few small hive beetles and beekeepers often use hive beetle traps filled with cooking oil as a preventative treatment measure. Another remedy that she employed was the use of Swiffer pads at the top of the hive which traps the beetles. Small hive beetles have been linked to colony collapse so early and persistent treatment is needed.

She also used a calming spray. I found a link (from GardenFork.tv) on a DIY version of the calming spray that can be used instead of smoke, in the photos you may notice that I had my smoker, but it was too damp and I had a hard time keeping it lit, so long live the spray.

Below are some more shots of the frame removal and placement into a storage container. The frames will be taken off-site for honey extraction. In the near future, I hope to share a post on the honey extraction process.

Well, I hope that you find this information on the honey collection and small hive beetle treatment informative. I will post again soon with more bee adventures.

Michelle

Honey BBQ Sauce

It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon and after a great tomato and pepper harvest. I had a bunch of tomatoes and some nice summer fruits in the fridge. So, I wanted to find something that related to blogging to do with them and pass along ways to use what I had in my kitchen to make something new. So here is my Honey BBQ Sauce…

So I started off with the following ingredients

  • Tomatoes (4 Heirloom – large, 6 Roma, 5 – 6 Hybrids and a few Cherries)
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 Hot Pepper
  • 1 cup of Blueberries
  • 1 Nectarine (you can use any summer fruit that you have)

Spices and Sweets

  • Sea Salt (season as desired)
  • Organic Garlic Powder
  • Red Peper flakes (season as desired)
  • Black Pepper
  • Tajin Seasoning
  •  3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Honey
  • Hot Sauce (if you want it extra spicy – I actually had enough heat without it for this batch)

How to Prepare:

Spray large Pot with Olive Oil Spray at High to Mid Heat Add a mix of chopped tomatoes, and other items.

Gradually reduce heat and stir in the ingredients. Add seasoning in layers, so I begin with onions, tomatoes, peppers, and fruit. Then I add a sprinkle of salt, black pepper, and garlic. Let this cook down for few minutes then add more chopped tomatoes and then add the next round of spices.

After you notice that it has cooked down, I add the blueberries, sugar, and honey. I continue to stir and spices which include red pepper and Tajin. At this point, the temperature is at low and I use a gas stove which allows for some latitude in the heat.

I used the hand-mixer to start to liquefy the sauce. I then used a strainer to remove some of the tomato skins from the sauce. You may let it rest on the stove for another 5 minutes on low before packaging with a funnel.

IMG_2738
Honey BBQ Sauce – Sept 2017

Bottle, refrigerate and enjoy within 2-3 weeks. I will give some away to friends and use on my labor day wings and ribs! I make small batches so that I can enjoy fresh sauce and learn new ways to modify my sauces.

Questions! Let me know if the recipe works for you. I am more of an experimental cook so if you have comments I will respond quickly.

Hive Art

I was looking online at some great photos where beekeepers had painted pictures and other images on their hives and really made great works of art. I thought that this may be a good weekend summer activity for myself and Sophia.  I also bought a bunch of new hive bodies to expand so, I need to figure out how I am going to make my BeeMore hives standout.  So, here’s how I got my child involved.

I just bought a bunch of new hive bodies boxes to expand my enterprise so, I need to figure out how I am going to make my BeeMore hives standout.  So, here’s how I got my child involved.

 

 

This past week, we took a short trip to Philly and we spent the two days visiting the various art museums and seeing the historic sites. My daughter is a budding artist and she loves to draw and paint in all mediums so I took this opportunity to get her interested in the bee business.  I will devote some more posts to this project and more of the finished products.  Below are some photos from Philly that inspired me to start this project.

 

 

If you want more information on how to be involved contact me.

 

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